A Few Crumbs…
… I shall have peace even though I follow the dictates of my own heart, – as though the drunkard could be included with the sober (Deut. 29:19)
Even the cynic would find it difficult to dispute that Scripture does have some novel terms of expression. Proverbs is full of them, as are the Psalms.
Moses is warning the people of Israel about taking a light-hearted attitude towards God’s precepts and principles. They are to be circumspect about being governed by the dictates of their own feelings and emotions. In modern parlance Moses would be warning them against the line, “If it feels good, it must be okay.” He knows the human heart’s tendency to be blind to its own failings and inadequacies. He lasers in on the proclivity to believe all is well even though one’s conduct is in direct violation of what God has ordained. In an analogy that is easy to grasp, Moses tells us there is as much prospect of peace in our souls when we violate God’s precepts, as the drunkard has of being numbered with the sober!
Isn’t it ironic that we can so clearly and insightfully see the inadequacies, sometimes very small ones, in other people, but miss bigger issues in our own lives. As Jesus said, we must remove the plank from our own eye before being preoccupied with the splinter in our brother’s (Matthew 7:5). It is this ‘self-blindness’ that causes us to experience serious disappointments, make poor judgments and travel down wrong highways. It is deliberate, willful self-assurance and indulgence in our own rightness and sufficiency that alienates us from the source of Life. Well did Jeremiah describe this error when he said “For my people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13) We turn from the fountain of living, soul quenching water, to stagnant cisterns that offer nothing. We are deluded into thinking we know the manual and pattern for life better than its architect, ‘as though the clay could tell the potter what to do’, to paraphrase Moses.
What is most needed to cope with the pressures, problems and people of life is a heart-changing attitude that asks humbly and reverently, “Lord am I perhaps intoxicated with my own rightness and self-centeredness?” Instead of finding solace, the drunkard by resorting to another bottle, only defers, and usually enlarges his problems. Likewise peace will not be found in another swig from the bottle of man’s inadequate promises and insufficiency.
Firstly peace is only found when I am no longer pre-occupied with excuses and blame shifting. Secondly peace is not rooted in circumstances, although pleasant ones certainly make life comfortable. Peace is found in a Person. When we turn from our self-sufficiency to the all sufficiency of the Cross, there is every prospect that the drunkard may be included with the sober, just as the unrighteous are counted righteous in Christ Jesus.
- “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25:11)
- “It’s not good to eat too much honey; so to seek one’s own glory is not glory’ (Proverbs 25:27)
- Mercy and truth have met together, Righteousness and peace have kissed (Psalm 85: 10)